For the "Art Project" and "Drawing Lesson" slots in our school schedule during Advent, we spent a bit of time doing some pre-Christmas crafting. These aren't Charlotte Mason-style handicrafts, but we did try out some new techniques and the kids were able to make some Christmas gifts on their own. Care to take a look?
The children and I have a tradition of doing handmade Christmas cards each year. I had bookmarked the foam printing process we used this year (similar to this) long ago but didn't have the materials on hand then--this time around, I made sure to have everything we would need. We will definitely be doing our cards this way again! It's the perfect method for this kind of project because you can make multiple copies with very little effort. The children marked the images and rolled on the paint; I did the printing. This way, making a few dozen took only an hour. We also made a couple larger ones and mounted them on cardstock as gifts for the grandparents.
I try to do an ornament each year with the children. Last year we cut salt-dough circles, painted them gold, and decorated them with tiny buttons--fun, easy, and lovely on the tree. This year's, though, was a less successful craft project.
Melting the beads in cookie cutters worked perfectly and was very simple, but drilling holes to hang the shapes as ornaments was less so--they cracked as soon as we tried to drill through. I put the rest of the shapes aside until we can get think of another way to hang them because I do think they will look nice hung on the tree or in front of a window. Any ideas?
My kids love making all kinds of gifts for each other, which I want to encourage...but I have to admit, they're always needing "help," and I end up doing more than my share of the gift-making for them. Not exactly how I would like things to go. So this little craft was probably my favorite because it was my daughter's idea and she completed it almost entirely on her own.
She read in a magazine about making a board game and decided it would be the perfect Chrstmas gift for her brother. Game board out of cardboard, stickers, and markers; dice from the math bin; cards cut from construction paper; and little Scupley cars for playing pieces. She was very pleased and so was he.
Another simple project: coloring books for their little sister. Big hit.
Their true labor of love this year, though, was a gift from my two oldest for my husband: picture books of favorite carols. One of the children's favorite Christmas traditions is to do sing-alongs with my husband, turning the pages in an accompanying picture book while they listen to a carol. We love Good King Wenceslas and Deck the Halls, but we hadn't yet found a great version of "We Three Kings" or "I Saw Three Ships." (We are both very picky about picture books. ;)) So when we were putting away the Christmas books last year, the big kids told me they wanted to illustrate their own versions for Daddy's Christmas present for the following year. I put a couple blank books aside and pulled them out at the start of Advent for them to start working on since I knew it would be a lengthy project. I was right--they finished the day before Christmas Eve!
For next Christmas, I already have some projects in mind that can take advantage of some true handicraft lessons we're hoping to do this year: beaded icicles and perhaps a finger-knit garland. Now if only I could figure out how to fit handwork in with a baby in arms and a couple toddlers to chase...